EC EVM challenge: What has happened so far

The four-hour hackathon commenced at 10 AM with an in-depth demonstration of the security features of the EVMs by the EC in two separate halls with each participating delegation.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published:June 3, 2017 10:05 pm
Nasim zaidi, Election Commission, EC, EVM, EVM hacking, Election commission news CEC Nasim Zaidi.

In a press conference held this afternoon after the “EVM Challenge” organized by the Election Commission of India, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi shared that the CPI – M (Communist Party of India – Marxist) said they did not want to participate in the hackathon but merely wished to understand the EVM process. NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) too stated that they did not want to take on the challenge but only wished to participate in it as an academic exercise.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) today morning held a EVM hackathon in which all seven national political parties and 49 state parties were invited to participate. The parties were invited to send three representatives to prove hacking the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) was possible. They were to be provided four machines each, procured from Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh where recent Assembly elections were held and allowed a time period of four hours. Experts from a technical committee in EC were to judge the proceedings. The participants were allowed to open and inspect the machine, without tampering with its components. However, it found only two parties — CPI-M and NCP — ‘participating’.

The four-hour hackathon commenced at 10 AM with an in-depth demonstration of the security features of the EVMs by the EC in two separate halls with each participating delegation. Three hours into the challenge, PTI reported that representatives from neither of the two delegations had made any attempts to hack. The two teams instead variously observed the demonstration of the EVM security features and interacted with the Commission’s technical committee of experts.

CEC Zaidi was quoted by news agency ANI as saying: “CPM team expressed complete satisfaction and suggested that commission should hold such demonstration and awareness sessions proactively. NCP team informed they too don’t want to participate in any challenge but were only interested to participate in an academic exercise.” Addressing NCP’s allegation about faulty EVMs during Maharashtra civic polls, he said: “NCP mentioned that source of their doubts has been alleged problems with EVMs during municipal elections in Maharashtra. Commission clarified that EVMs used by state election commission, Maharashtra for urban local body elections do not belong to EC.” Following this, the NCP delegation recommended that there be a clear distinction between the two kinds of machines. CPI-M also made a recommendation that more similar interaction with technical expert committees be made available to clear doubts.

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